The Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling authority, has issued licences to only 10 providers, much fewer than anticipated, and they’ve already been dubbed “The Lucky Few” or “Magnificent Ten”.
The 10 are headed, unsurprisingly, by the national trio of state-owned casino operator Holland Casino NV, Toto Online BV and arcade operators FPO Netherlands BV.
UK-linked operators also have a stake in the new and dynamic Dutch iGaming offering with bet365’s Malta-based Hillside Media and Tombola Limited, out of Sunderland, also being given much sought-after online gaming licences.
The remaining licenced operators are Betent BV, Bingoal Netherlands BV, LiveScore Malta Limited, NSUS Malta Limited and Play North Ltd.
Initially, it was thought the KSA would grant up to 40 iGaming licences, each costing €48,000 (£41,250/US$55,700).
But the figure was whittled down to 28 and finally to 10 after many applicants failed to meet the strict KSA standards.
The next iGaming licencing round will open in April 2022, said the authority.
Online companies who have operated in Holland’s previously unregulated iGaming space must take a two-year “cooling-off” period before they can apply for a new licit licence, according to the country’s Remote Gambling Act, known as the KOA.
“[Our] focus has [now] shifted to applying the most intensive monitoring of the marketplace to [protect] Dutch consumers from engaging with unlicensed operators — regardless of their pending KOA status,” warned the KSA.
Meantime, Holland Casino Chairman Erwin van Lambaart stressed the player safety-first protocols intrinsic to the new world of Dutch iGaming.
“Holland Casino was established so that the Dutch can enjoy the thrill of games of chance in a responsible environment,” said van Lambaart.
“I see it as our responsibility to make that possible online. Our range of games is great and our digital environment looks fantastic – and for good reason.”
Holland now has some of the most advanced and toughest gambling safeguards in the world.
Operators must establish a player’s identity under the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act — and they also need to ensure that punters are registered with Cruks, a central gaming index.
For their own protection, players’ gaming behaviour will be monitored, with strict time and spend limits.
For their part, customers will be able to check–through the “Kansspelwijzer” iGaming guide–if an operator is technically legit.
“The KSA urges people who want to gamble online to do so with a provider licensed by the KSA,” said the regulator.
“This creates a safe environment. A player is assured of a fair game and the provider must make sure that the player does not exceed their limits.”